“This outpouring of activism reflects a reinvigorated desire among Americans for the U.S. to maintain its leadership and influence on the global stage,” said UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley. “Americans recognize that our world’s intractable challenges cannot be resolved by one country alone. Whether we aim to address the planet’s worst humanitarian and refugee crisis since World War II, terrorism, or threats from the effects of climate change, the United Nations is essential for advancing our national interests.”
Americans from 40 states are attending the annual UNA-USA Leadership Summit in Washington for two days of presentations from high-ranking UN officials, policy workshops, skills building, and learning sessions on topics ranging from human rights and peacekeeping to the role of the UN in addressing global pandemics. On the third and final day of the Summit, attendees are on Capitol Hill to meet face-to-face with Members of Congress and their staff and petition for full U.S. funding and support for the UN.
“We’re bringing the voices of our communities to Capitol Hill during a pivotal moment for the U.S.-UN relationship,” said UNA-USA National Council Advocacy Chair Mel Boynton. “The new Administration has proposed vicious cuts to foreign affairs funding that would cripple U.S. influence at the UN, further destabilize the world, and cause untold suffering. On behalf of the majority of Americans who support strong U.S. engagement at the UN, we’ve come to Washington with the common cause of urging Congress to protect full U.S. funding for the UN in the final FY2018 budget.”
Research shows that American voters registered in both major parties agree that sustained U.S. leadership at the UN is vital. A bipartisan nationwide poll conducted after the 2016 election by the Better World Campaign, UNA-USA’s sister organization, found that a vast majority of Americans—88 percent—believe it is important for the U.S. to maintain an active role at the UN. More than 8 in 10 Americans agree that the U.S. is better positioned to achieve its foreign policy goals when it works with major allies to solve global challenges rather than acting alone. Additionally, 67 percent of voters expressed continued support for the U.S. to pay its dues to the UN on time and in full.
During the Summit, UNA-USA members and supporters heard from speakers including: His Excellency Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly; Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Office; Vitit Muntarbhorn, Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, UNHCR; Samantha Ware, Actress, Hamilton at Broadway in Chicago and Glee on Fox; and Kathy Calvin, President & CEO, UN Foundation. The complete agenda with a list of all speakers and their biographies can be found online at: unausa.org/leadershipsummit.
The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a 50-state grassroots organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For more than 70 years, UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission through its national network of Chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation.
About the United Nations Foundation:
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: www.unfoundation.org.